Saying he doesn't want to go through another embarrassing Augusta Commission meeting, former Mayor Ed McIntyre is dropping his pursuit to name an Augusta street after his mother.
Commissioners deadlocked along racial lines last week over a proposal to rename a strip of Olive Road after the Rev. Essie McIntyre. Mayor Larry Sconyers cast the deciding vote to defeat the proposal.
The road was originally named after Olive Koger, and members of the Koger family attended the meeting to urge commissioners not to rename the road.
Mr. McIntyre said race was behind the commission's decision.
"My mother would turn over in her grave if she thought this would get to be a racial contest," he said. "There isn't a street in Augusta that wasn't named by some white person. If we're ever going to honor African-Americans, some of those streets are going to have to be changed."
Commissioner Rob Zetterberg denied that race was a factor in his vote. He said he planned to vote for the proposal so long as no one objected but decided to vote against it after hearing testimony from the Koger family.
He was disappointed that the Koger family was able to supply more information about the road than city workers were able to find.
"The city didn't give us anything," Mr. Zetterberg said. "I don't think that will happen again."
Mr. McIntyre said he would have dropped the proposal before the meeting if he had known the votes weren't there to pass it.
Among the Rev. McIntyre's
contributions was the founding of Good Shepherd Baptist Church. The church started out with 17 members more than half a century ago and has grown to 1,600 members. The church will move to a multimillion-dollar sanctuary on Olive Road next year.
Commissioners said they were willing to look at other streets to honor the Rev. McIntyre - possibly Sunset Avenue, where Good Shepherd is currently located.
But Mr. McIntyre said he doesn't want to go through the process again.
"All of this maneuvering was embarrassing to me," he said. "I am outraged at the way it was handled."
After hearing from members of both families, Commissioner Lee Beard proposed renaming to Essie McIntyre Boulevard the section of the road from the railroad tracks to Milledgeville Road, leaving the remaining stretch to Gordon Highway with its current name.
Mr. McIntyre agreed to the compromise, but Koger family members objected because Olive Koger lived on the part of the road that would be renamed.